Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?

First on December 10 at 03:28AM

main point questions

I am having a hard time with main point questions- I get down to 2 answer choices and I always pick the last one. Are there tips for tackling these questions?

4 Replies

Ben on December 10 at 04:24PM

Hi Madisan, thanks for the question.

I understand your challenge with these questions. In my own study, this was the last portion of RC that I felt comfortable with. I often had the same issue as you and couldn't exactly understand why.

Let me try to pass on some pointers for how to approach these questions, and how to differentiate between your final two answer choices.

The main point of an RC passage has to encompass the entirety of the passage. It is typically not confined to a single sentence or portion of the passage, as is usually the case with LR.

It often helps to predict the answer on your own before examining the answer choices because once you have read the passage (hopefully with reasonable focus and intensity), you will be able to discern what the whole point of that passage was and why it was written. Then, be flexible with your prediction and choose the answer that most closely conforms to what you predicted.

Additionally, tone plays a huge role in these questions. Often, answer choices can be dismissed due to tone issues. This also includes indicators of probability and quantity. E.g. if the passage stated that some people like popcorn, an answer choice that says people tend to like popcorn will be incorrect. We cannot gather from some, that most do.

Another point that I have noticed which helps is to not be distracted by the final paragraph. Of course, we should read and properly consider the final paragraph, but often times it is presented in a misleading manner. Consider the following:

If a passage discusses a theory that has been revised, defended, then accepted, etc. and has spent nearly the entirety of its available space discussing these items. A final paragraph which says that we can now use this theory to create a new sub field within X discipline, will not in and of itself be the conclusion.
In everyday speech, this would likely be the conclusion of what the person is saying (i.e. theory was revised, defended, accepted, therefore we can create a sub field within X discipline). But on the LSAT, we need to incorporate the entirety of the passage.

Ben on December 10 at 04:39PM

I would like to focus on the main point question concerning the FTP to illustrate how we can remove answer choices from consideration.

A) it says that the Negro Units were rediscovered. I see no evidence of this in the passage. Immediately, this is incorrect. Everything in a correct main point answer must be supported within the passage. Additionally, there was no discussion of these performers and producers being the most talented and influential of their day. Another reason it is incorrect.

B) The passage did not compare the impacts of various United States government supported programs on the African American arts community in the U.S. So again, this is not supported and cannot be correct.

C) This covers both main ideas. Importance of the FTP's negro units in establishing, perhaps, the first truly national black theatre in the U.S. and the debates within this community about what should be produced and portrayed.

D) The first portion of this statement is true. There was a wide variety of plays produced in these years. However, it is not supported that they are best known today for their productions of folk dramas. Let alone the words "highly creative". Read around line 30 to see the discussion of folk dramas.

E) This is a trickier answer choice. It is true that the government's FTP provided much needed support for theatre during the Great Depression and that the arts in general had an uncertain fate. However, it is not true that it is due to the FTP's support of the negro units that the government provided this aid. It is through supporting the FTP in general. The negro units were simply a subset of a much larger theatre initiative.

First on December 10 at 04:45PM

Thank you so much! This is very helpful!

Ravi on January 14 at 10:21PM

@madisanbryant, let us know if you have any other questions!